Transport emissions are rising dramatically, but we have carbon-free solutions available.
Scania’s Sustainability Director for Buses and Coaches Jonas Strömberg is one of the keynote speakers at this month’s UITP Global Public Transport Summit in Montréal, and he has a frank message for the audience.
An intelligent approach to procurement
Against a backdrop of rapid global climate change, Strömberg will be speaking about the possibilities we have right now to dramatically reduce carbon emissions from public transport, and how that can be done by a more intelligent approach to procurement. In an interview at Scania Studio, Strömberg explained his reasoning:
“We see that we have rapidly-escalating climate change in the planet today. It’s moving much quicker than the worst-case prognosis we had previously. In spite of our best efforts and the ambitious goals that we have, we still see that emissions from public transport keep increasing dramatically, in spite of the fact we have solutions available.
“I would say the technology has been in place for 20 to 30 years already, and that’s why it’s so frustrating that we don’t see it applied in larger volumes.”
Shift towards sustainable transport
In its determination to drive the shift towards sustainable transport, Scania is one of those who have been developing those solutions, including hybridisation and electrification.
The company’s work on Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) systems in cities as diverse as Cartagena in Colombia, Accra in Ghana and Jakarta in Indonesia underline its commitment to smart and sustainable alternatives, and it’s those cities who are showing the way with climate-smart transport procurement. As Strömberg explains, it’s those parts of the world beyond Europe and North America that will be crucial to the world meeting the goal of clean transport.
“It doesn’t matter what Europe and North America are doing if we look at decarbonising transport from the perspective of the planet because we have a dramatic growth in population and urbanisation in Africa and Asia.
“This will totally dominate the carbon emissions from transport and if we can’t find clean, robust and commercial solutions that can replace diesel in these markets, it really won’t matter what we do in Europe and North America – it’ll only be a fraction of what is needed.”
Renewable fuels a necessity
Strömberg also notes that while much of the focus on solutions has been on city centres, 80 to 90 percent of emissions come from suburban and regional transport. “When we talk about really decarbonising transport, it’s really important that we look at the whole transport solution. We have to get rid of the fossil-fuel energy in the system, so regardless of whether it’s fossil electric energy or fossil liquid fuels, we have to replace them with renewable fuels,” he says.
However, while Strömberg says there is no single ‘silver bullet’ solution to deal with the problem, he does point to Stockholm the venue for the next UITP meeting in 2019, as an example of how decarbonising transport can happen.
“Stockholm has decarbonised all of the public transport and most of the freight transport within the city. Ninety-seven percent of transport in Stockholm runs on renewable, fossil-free energy, most of it originating from the city’s waste. It’s a great example that we can show at the next UITP.”